THINGS ARE ALWAYS TERRIBLE
Interview with INDESTRUCTIBLE NOISE COMMAND
By: Dr. Abner Mality
INDESTRUCTIBLE NOISE COMMAND first surfaced in the heady days of the first thrash revolution. They were the only band of that ilk that I know of hailing from Connecticut. They made a nice splash, especially in their East Coast environs, but they didn’t have a national breakout like other notables of the time such as TESTAMENT, NUCLEAR ASSAULT and SACRED REICH did. But these soliders took the “Indestructible” part of their monicker seriously and never totally gave up the ghost. They made a comeback a few years ago with the ‘Black Hearse Serenade’ album but as you will see, they weren’t entirely happy with how that turned out. So with their new effort Terrible Things, they decided to grab the bull by the horns and handle the release themselves. The result? Terrible Things should be a pleasing stroll down the avenue of nostalgic thrash for both old and new fans. I hooked up with long time axe slinger Erik Barath to get the lowdown on INC circa 2019…
REBEL EXTRAVAGANZA: Greetings! It’s been more than 30 years since INC made its debut. Do those early days seem like a long time ago or is it like they just happened yesterday?
ERIK BARATH: Yeah, it does seem like a long time ago . I still remember the big shows though, but I do wish we had video of them to get the little details right.
RX: A lot of things have changed since then. Tell us about the East Coast thrash scene you grew up in back in those days…how wild and woolly were they?
EB: Well, we were the first thrash band in Connecticut. I was into thrash before anyone I knew, because I was tape trading all over the place. I even at one point had the Metallica demo with Mustaine. The scene was amazing because it was something new, fresh, without limits so yeah, things got wild and our following grew fast.
RX: Do the same things motivate you now that they did back then? Or have your reasons for doing this changed over time?
EB: No, back then it was about getting laid and free beer for some underage knuckleheads. Now we do it for the glory and to remind the world that we have a stake in the history of thrash metal.
RX: Do you write the songs pretty much the same way? Are they a collaboration or is there one driving force behind the songwriting?
EB: No, I was always the writer in the band. Back in the old days it was a pain. We all got in our band room and I would have to try and explain a new song step by step, trying to convey what everyone was supposed to do. Now I have a little, primitive studio where I can record the complete song, done, ready to go. They boys just learn it and add their personalities to it. Simple!
RX: What’s the one thing you miss the most about the early days of the underground?
EB: Because people actually purchased music back then, I felt the fans had a closer connection to bands. With the digital age and streaming and illegal downloads, it’s harder to connect personally with fans.
RX: What do you like better about the music scene now compared to then?
EB: The only thing I would say is it’s easier for bands to create music and release it themselves and promote via social media. It’s a ying and yang with the digital age , I suppose.
RX: You decided to make Terrible Things a self-release. Did you have any label interest in the record or were you determined to do it yourself from the start?
EB: We didn’t really like how our last album, Black Hearse Serenade was released, so we wanted to have complete control this time. We may in the future sign with another label but it would have to be a bigger one, one that can really put its weight behind the release.
RX: You’ve got a song called ‘Salmonella’ on the new album. Inspired by a personal experience, perhaps?
EB: That song is about the threat of Iran and radical Islam in the west and how so many politicians, especially in Europe, seem to capitulate to it. They think they can coexist together. Fat chance.
RX: ‘Identifier’ is an interesting name for a song. What does this one deal with?
EB: That track deals with the insane meltdown after the 2016 elections. I was just like ‘Jesus man, it’s just an election. There will be another in 4 years.’ I still don’t get the crazy shit that I see every day. And I am not a Republican or Democrat, but I think everyone needs to just chill and allow life to move on. The song takes a humorous take on it all.
RX: The outlook of INC seems pretty bleak and political these days, just like it was back in the time of Razorback. Could you ever foresee back then where we seem to be today?
EB: I don’t know, I really don’t see a difference as far as politics goes. There will always basically be two political parties and they fight it out. We had the Iran issue then as we do now. We had terrorism then and now. I think being around in both eras give me perspective. I always see the glass half full and these days, things really aren’t that bad. You should have seen the late ’70s.
RX: Is there any room for hope in your music or is the prevailing feeling that we’re pretty much fucked?
EB: Oh yeah, we always approached things with a sense of humor and lightheartedness. I see good times ahead but sure, we’ll have to deal with bullshit along the way.
RX: Any live plans for Terrible Things?
EB: Working on that now. Hopefully we’ll announce something very soon!
RX: I would guess that you guys now have families and “real” jobs. How hard is it for INC to exist with those considerations?
EB: Yeah that is always a balancing act. Anthony and Dennis are firefighters so they have to get time off and find replacements. It’s doable but it’s something we have to all work out within the parameters of our personal lives. Rock ‘n’ Roll doesn’t pay the bills
RX: Any one band from back in the day that kind of took you under their wing and helped you out?
EB: Not really. We played with the biggest names in thrash but none ever really took us out on tour or anything. We opened for so many, because we were so popular in Connecticut and NY.
RX: Any good “Spinal Tap” story from your career where things went haywire?
EB: We once played a festival in Pittsburgh. We were the co-headliners. I remember it was in a skating rink or something, and we showed up for sound check, and I ate something next door, I think it was Wendy’s. Anyways, a couple hours later I felt like I was going to crap myself so I went back to the restaurant to use the toilet. It was the worst stall I ever visited. The walls were coming loose. Anyways, like 4 metal dudes come in and one of them is singing ‘War Not Words’…OUR SONG….and they start a mosh pit in the bathroom, slamming against the stall walls. Well it came loose and I had to hold one wall up with my hands to keep it from slamming on me. Those dudes didn’t even know that the guitarist from the band they were singing was melting on the toilet in the stall they just wrecked.
RX: Any last messages for the fans?
EB: Yeah, stay away from Wendy’s!